Are the times really a-changing?

Skip the underlying tone to the Schultz piece I linked to yesterday and focus on the point he was making, that Georgia has changed its drug policy protocol in response to Kirby Smart.  Is there a case to be made for that?

Look at a couple of dry descriptions of the night’s events.  First, from Marc Weiszer:

Police searched Patrick’s dorm room in which he and Smith were on the night of the incident after a resident assistant reported smelling marijuana.

They found a fake can of Arizona strawberry iced tea with a hidden compartment, but marijuana wasn’t found in the can. Patrick admitted to keeping marijuana in it when he had possession of it, but said he did not have any on that night.

Police found other items identified as drug paraphernalia including a “smoke buddy, tobacco gutted from cigars and rolled in a paper towel and lighters and towels rolled up and pushed against door cracks.  Both players admitted to smoking cigars that night, but not marijuana.

And this, from Jake Rowe:

Police did, however, find tobacco gutted from Black N’ Mild cigars and a container in which Patrick admitted he used to stash pot whenever he has it. Had the drug test been positive for Patrick, he’d have been in line for a four-game suspension due to it being his second offense. It would have been Smith’s first offense and just a one-game suspension for him.

However, as Rowe puts it, police on the scene “… weren’t able to find a testable quantity of the substance and neither player was arrested.”

So, despite some questionable surroundings, there was no arrest and no admission of guilt.  Add to that one more thing.

“After receiving an incident report last week, we determined that neither Roquan Smith nor Natrez Patrick had violated any Athletic Association rules that would require suspension,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “This included drug testing, which was negative for both student-athletes.”

To summarize then, we have a situation where despite circumstantial evidence indicating drug use, the police don’t arrest football players and Greg McGarity, who, if you’ll recall, once was the mastermind behind a decision to drug test student-athletes returning from spring break, gives both a clean bill of health.

Okay, I concede that’s not the typical Georgia Way response to which we’ve been accustomed to seeing.  But is it the sign of something bigger, a new drug policy era at Georgia?  And is it something for which Kirby Smart is responsible?

With regard to the latter question, it’s not as if he’s claiming responsibility.

“I’m a team player when it comes to policy, and I believe in doing what the team theme is, which is what our athletic association has been so far,” Smart said in his press conference on Monday. “Do I think that we live in a society that’s a little bit different now than it was back whenever? Sure, I do. But I also believe in what we have, and we know and accept the rules that we’ve been charged with.”

Those comments don’t indicate total agreement with the policies in place at UGA, but it doesn’t appear as if Smart is on any sort of policy-changing mission. Thus far he hasn’t been heavily affected by it as the Bulldogs head coach.

If I accept that at face value — and also thinking back to comments he made in a similar vein when he was hired and first asked about Georgia’s drug policy — it’s hard to see Kirby taking on a crusade here.  Which means if we’re considering Schultz’ charge seriously, that what’s happening is a more subtle evolution of policy that’s being directed by McGarity, or somebody over McGarity, and acceded to by Jimmy Williamson.

Maybe that’s so.  But taken together, it’s a bridge a little too far for me to cross after only one such incident.

That being said, the most believable part for me is the chickenshit hypocrisy behind that kind of approach, if true.  Rather than being forthright about the reality that Georgia’s drug policy is out of step with the rest of the conference to the detriment of the program, nibbling at the edges with incidents like this lets the school maintain its righteous public stance while allowing players to stay on the field as many of its peers do.  Toss in the likelihood that such a dichotomy will result in student-athletes receiving more favorable treatment than mere students and you’re looking at some real weaseling by the administration should this indeed be the new road the school is traveling on.

I can’t say we’re there yet, though.  What I can ask is, if Schultz is on to something, what happens if the change doesn’t help the bottom line, so to speak?  And what sort of reaction can be expected if Morehead and McGarity decide to take another shot at convincing the SEC to adopt a uniform drug policy?

55 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

55 responses to “Are the times really a-changing?

  1. Whether this is or isn’t a story comes down to the timing of the tests. If these guys were forced to take screens AFTER the incident, its difficult to say anything has changed. If they passed, why discipline them?

    If after the incident CKS said “we aren’t testing these guys” and the AD is relying on tests taken at a previous time then we’ve deviated considerably.

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    • Brandon

      I doubt they would have used and referenced tests taken at a previous time. However, given proper advance notice of an upcoming test, its not very difficult to beat one or produce a false negative.

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      • The other Doug

        I have a buddy that does HR consulting and a big part of his job is helping companies structure their drug testing so the correct amount of employees fail. First thing is give them notice 30-60 days out, and the second is to loosen up over sight of sample collection.

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      • 1smartdude

        I think they only needed to assume a drug test and have several hours to prepare. A urine test is easy to pass, given notice. The hair test, not quite as easy. Logic says they would assume the test. If anything, Kirby might have given them the time they needed. I’m not convinced of any kind of shift in the policy. We just had a guy miss half the season on an alcohol related deal.

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  2. The other Doug

    I suspect that Kirby got McGarrity to agree to be softer behind the scenes in regards to the drug policy, but Jimmy Williamson? Nah. I can’t see it.

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    • Mayor

      Without a testable quantity of marijuana being found and with the players passing the drug test there was and is no case provable in any court. Williamson had no basis for an arrest. In fact, if he had arrested them under those circumstances he might have opened the door to a lawsuit for false arrest.

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  3. RandallPinkFloyd

    It’ll be interesting to see what the conference does as well as the Universities do with their drug policies as the country continues to legalize cannabis, especially in recreational form. I know the south will be the last sector of states to budge in that regard, but still believe this is coming.

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  4. John Denver is full of shit...

    I was thinking Smart was speaking of where we are today as in ITS LEGAL IN OTHER STATES…all caps for those keeping me dry on Sundays in Watkinsville.

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  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    “Rather than being forthright about the reality that Georgia’s drug policy is out of step . . . ”

    That’s about what you can expect from college administrators. They think they can cover anything with rhetoric and rationalization.

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  6. 69Dawg

    It appears that the Campus Cops are still eager to enforce the law but came up empty in their search. Let’s look on the side of the kid. We know he had smoked in the past but maybe he had kept the paraphernalia as a reminder of his screw up. I certainly think if the cops had found any MJ the boys would have been punished.

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  7. I’m shaking my head at the folks expecting me to think we’ve lowered our standards or lost our morality because we didn’t punish alleged marijuana use. I wouldn’t do that had they been busted for it. Now…talk to me when we drop the ball on violence or some other REAL crime.

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  8. JCDAWG83

    The stupidity of some of our players never ceases to amaze me. Why would anyone tell a cop they kept pot in a container but don’t have any now?

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    • Normaltown Mike

      if you watch “the next 48” or similar shows, you’ll see that cops are trained and well versed at getting people to speak against their own interests.

      Human beans are largely taught to be agreeable and respect authority. It’s hard to resist the temptation to share “just a little” with a cop in an effort to please.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Regular Joes indict themselves daily..nothing to see here.

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    • down island way

      True, these student athletes pushed their luck to the limit with authorities and campus policy, should lt be true, second go round with burning the lettuce in public, i’m hopeful CKS has some form of punishment in his back pocket for these two, I’m not saying lock em up and throw away the key……..as I was listening to my favorite Doobie Brothers tune, cheat the hangman, the conference will leave all policy decisions to the individual institutions. No need for them to dirty their greasy palms.

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    • paul

      Seriously. Even at the age of sixteen my Dad drilled it into my head that when dealing with the police one should always be respectful, polite, cooperative and answer no questions. If the man wants to arrest you, let him. Smile. Be polite. Be cooperative. Say nothing. Call me from jail. The opportunity for justice occurs in a courtroom, not while interacting with the police.

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      • PTC DAWG

        Damn. Good. Advice.

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      • @Paul: Excellent advice. Keep your mouth shut and get an attorney. No matter what the police say, what anyone says, get an attorney and preferably not a public defender with 200 cases. You, who have never been in trouble before, is going against pros in getting you to say things.

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    • 81Dog

      my experience over the years has been that people consistently and tremendously overestimate their ability to talk their way out of trouble by chatting with the cops. To paraphrase Ron White, all of my clients have the right to remain silent, but most of them don’t have the ability.

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  9. Bright Idea

    I’m just glad we didn’t suspend them because they “probably” used marijuana. That would have been doubling down on the Georgia Way.

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  10. Mr. T

    The hypocrisy abounds at today’s ultra expensive Daycare Centers. The incredibly overpaid drones must attend to items like scary Halloween costumes while insuring some jibber jabber of non-English speach is utilized. Yet our most precious SA’s are still made to tiptoe through an arcane set of behavorial standards that the Academic Scholarship student avoids.
    And here we have a desperate scribe trying to gin up outrage because of the absence of some bud?

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  11. Macallanlover

    I am still looking for the connection to an odor that was so strong someone called an RA and he/she was so convinced of a problem that the cops were called. Where did that odor originate if there was no MJ found and the drug tests were negative? Inquiring minds want to know….or maybe we don’t.

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    • Brandon

      Odds are there was no MJ because they smoked it all and there are ways to pass a drug test if you know its coming. But… without any proof its all theory. Done deal, lets get back to football.

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    • Mayor

      They had been smoking cigars. Some people can’t tell the difference.

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      • Brandon

        😉 Of course they were. They just weren’t happy with the way they were rolled so they gutted them and re-rolled them themselves.

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      • 69Dawg

        Back in the day (60’s) we would have people that had never smoked that wanted to and we would roll either Oak leaves, Oregano or regular tea leaves in the papers and get them high because they thought they were smoking dope. Lot’s of things when burning smell like MJ. Those cigars probably smell as bad as MJ and could have been used to trick someone. Maybe the RA is an asshole and they wanted to give him the chance to prove it.

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      • Macallanlover

        That is some really bad cigars if it smelled like that. I can put them in touch with a better “supplier” for cigars, and much cheaper than weed too! Of course, the charge for smoking on campus is probably more severe than having dope because the health-Nazis have to control all behavior. Surprised they haven’t removed the soft drink and snack machines yet.

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  12. PTC DAWG

    Schultz sucks.

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  13. W Cobb Dawg

    There may have been a minuscule change to our ‘guilty until proven innocent’ policy. But it doesn’t appear there’s any change to the policy of never allowing players to have legal representation before answering questions that incriminate themselves.

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  14. AusDawg85

    Too much ado about nothing. If this happened one year ago, I don’t believe the players would have been suspended for the WLOCP. There is no hard evidence. There is no arrest. There is no crime. I’m sure some internal action would have been taken and I don’t know that’s still not the case…handled internally by CKS as it should be for now.

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  15. DawgPhan

    Hey Senator,

    can we talk about the ads? I feel like you are serving up some really bad ads right now, autoplays, malware, redirects, and general just bad ads. I know you dont control what ads get put up, but I was curious if you could turn them off. I was thinking that I would be happy to kick in some cash to offset your loss of revenue, I would imagine that some others feel the same way.

    unless you are pulling in 5 figures a year, then it might be tough. But if it was like $2-3k per year, I feel like we could scrape that together for a year of ad free Get the Picture.

    just putting it out there. The last couple of days of ads on mobile have been awful. I run an ad blocker on desktop and that has greatly improved the experience.

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    • The other Doug

      I have an ad for DR Horton Homes and the GAP.

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    • Aren’t the ads you see at WordPress sites generated based on your browsing history?

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      • DawgPhan

        it depends. Sure some are based on past sites visited, you get the Amazon ad for a pair of shoes you just bought, but you also get a mix of whatever the ad network needs to move. Then you have ads that malware takeover type ads that the ad network doesnt even know they are serving. So this isnt really a complaint about the content of the ad being served(if that was the insinuation) but rather that bad UI ads are being served, sometimes dangerous ads are being served, and that ads are being served at all when I am more than happy to pay for an ad free experience.

        Source: years as a analysts for digital/mobile ad company.

        It’s a Nissan Heisman house ad that is auto-playing on mobile and driving me crazy.

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    • I have so many ad blockers it is amazing. If a site tells me I need to remove the ad blocker, I move on. It does limit what you read, but definitely worth it.

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  16. paul

    I don’t care what our drug policy is. Seriously. It didn’t bother me when we had the harshest policy in the SEC and it won’t bother me if have the most lenient policy now. Just make sure everybody knows what it is and administer it in a consistent manner. That’s all. Then it’s up to kids. You know what it is. Act as you see fit. But don’t act surprised, put upon or whine about how unfair or out of touch it is. You know. If you don’t like it, go to school elsewhere. There are lots of schools with lots of policies. Choose wisely, but own the fact that it’s your choice.

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  17. Will Trane

    You have to wonder how much time and resources the Athens law enforcement, Clarke County law enforcement, UGA campus police, UGA Administration, and the AD office devote to the rest of the campus and community to prevent drugs.
    Can not be much.
    Why.
    Their sole focus is on the football roster.
    Frankly if I am a recruit I would think long and hard about UGA.
    Now it is about time for this matter to be closed and go the hell on to football and UF.
    But hell no lets drag this collar around for awhile because some freaking damn journalist wants to but it in neon.
    This is why I pulled my financial support from UGA about 5 years ago.
    All of it goes to a high school program.
    And if the AD and UGA can not get focused I am prepared to totally drop watching and keeping up with anything about UGA.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      actually, the dorms have employees that walk the halls at night. If they smell smoke of the “left handed cigarette” variety, they are required to report it.

      The job is a good way to make money on a night shift. I knew a guy that worked in Brumby (when it was all female) and he said the job was very very very pleasant.

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      • Macallanlover

        Dang, are they hiring for jobs like that. I have lots of time and refuse to greet folks at Wally World. Would take it as a voluntary position even.

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  18. Will Trane

    UGA is a very immature university.
    It likes to tread water and not move forward.
    Frankly I think it is poorly managed from top to bottom.
    The clearest example is that damn substandard AD office.

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  19. CrawforDawg

    …”Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
    And don’t criticize what you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command”…

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    • 69Dawg

      I always thought my generation, the Baby Boomers, would not be so hypocritical as to still be trying to enforce laws that we violated when we were young. Wrong, we are the generation of do what I say, not what I did. At least our parents weren’t hypocrites.

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  20. Bulldog Joe

    Well, this may explain why the team is so listless in the noon games. 😉

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